Action Plan for a Small Business Makeover

Create a business action plan.
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Business planning is the magic bean for successful businesses. Put a plan in place, give it the continued attention it needs and your business is going to grow stronger and better. Whether it grows bigger and stronger depends on the plan you've chosen, but the point is, without business planning, you have a fair chance of ending up with nothing but some churned up dirt to show for your efforts.

This business planning makeover is designed to ensure that you create a Business Action Plan that will provide your small business direction for the coming year — or longer. When you've completed it, you will have a Vision Statement, a Mission Statement and specific business goals that enable you to put your business planning into action.

The Basic Questions of Business Planning

So let's start with the basics of business planning.

The assumption of business planning is that you want your small business to be successful. So the first question is, "What do you want?"

To answer this, you have to have decided how you're going to measure your success. For instance, do you want your small business to:

  • Make x amount of revenue?
  • Become the market leader in its marketing segment?
  • Bring in enough money that your family can live off it?
  • Bring a process or product you've created to market?
  • Make you personally a well-known name?
  • Become a well-known franchise?

These are just a few examples of what a successful small business may mean to you. Notice how money may or may not figure prominently in your interpretation of success.

The Business Planning Framework

Now that you've decided what you want your small business to accomplish, we'll formalize your desires into a vision statement as part of the business planning framework.

First, though, because a vision statement is all about choosing a future destination, you need to articulate where you are now, giving your business planning a starting as well as an endpoint. You'll do this by writing a mission statement, describing what your company does and how you do it.

Then shape your vision statement by applying the formula as directed. (Note that using a five-year timeline is not a requirement; you can certainly change this to any number of years that you wish.)

Fleshing Out the Business Planning Framework

Now you have a Mission Statement that says where you are and a Vision Statement that tells where you want to get to, so you're ready to flesh out the business planning framework by creating the business goals that are going to get you there.

When you're done, pay special attention to the last section about revisiting your Business Action Plan and evaluating your progress. You know what will happen to your magic bean plant if it doesn't get any care!